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Creating clinical pharmacy capacity in Namibia: a collaboration to establish a post-graduate pharmacy degree programme

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Namibia has previously relied on external training of pharmacists but began in-country training in 2011. In response to an identified need for postgraduate clinical pharmacy development and training in the country, a Master’s degree was set up at the University of Namibia in 2016. The country has a considerable health burden of HIV and TB as well as a shortage of healthcare professionals. A UK clinical diploma model was adapted to meet the specific needs of the country and wider region, ensuring students could access the course over a sparsely populated, but large geographical spread, in addition to providing work-based learning, embedding research skills for future development, and focusing on the health needs of Namibia. The course uses online learning platforms and contact sessions to cover both knowledge and skill acquisition throughout the 3 years of the course. UK and US clinical pharmacists are utilised to provide specialist input, both remotely and within student workplaces, and further support has come from collaborations, including cross-site visits, with the UK-based pharmacy school whose diploma model was adapted. Challenges have included a shortage of clinical mentors, also compounding the students’ difficulty in visualising their future roles, as well as lone practitioners finding it hard to attend all contact sessions. The initial dropout rates of earlier cohorts have since reduced with greater understanding of the programme, and enthusiasm for the course remains high. The aim for the Master’s is to train students to become competent clinical pharmacists, thus having the knowledge and skills to mentor future cohorts of the course, as well as expanding the specialty within the country.

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Corkhill, N.L., Lates, J., Mubita, M. et al. Creating clinical pharmacy capacity in Namibia: a collaboration to establish a post-graduate pharmacy degree programme. Int J Clin Pharm 42, 1528–1532 (2020).

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